Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Last Call For The Huckleberry Speaks

In something of a shocker, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham will accept Fulton County Georgia's subpoena to a grand jury in the case of Trump's efforts to defraud the state with alternate voters and plotting to cheat the 2020 presidential election.

Sen. Lindsey Graham agreed Tuesday to accept service of a subpoena for his testimony before a Georgia grand jury investigating possible criminal meddling in the 2020 election by then-President Donald Trump.

But Graham, R-S.C., still retained his right to challenge the legality of the subpoena, a court filing showed.

The Atlanta-based grand jury is seeking evidence related to efforts by Trump and others to get Georgia officials to overturn the election won there by President Joe Biden.

Graham’s agreement to accept the subpoena likely will streamline his dispute with Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis over the demand for his testimony. Asked Tuesday afternoon about the development, Graham told NBC News that Fulton County hasn’t “even tried to subpoena me. I just want to get it done.”

The Republican lawmaker, one of Trump’s closest confidants in the Senate, had asked a federal judge in South Carolina last week to quash the subpoena.

But Willis in a court filing Monday told the judge that Graham’s challenge was both too early, and not filed in the right court. She said the fact that Graham had not yet been served with the subpoena made any motion to quash it premature, and that he might not be served in South Carolina.

On Tuesday, attorneys for both parties told the judge that Willis and Graham “have reached an agreement to withdraw all process and proceedings pending” before the South Carolina district court.

“Senator Graham has agreed to accept service of a subpoena for testimony from the Fulton County Special Purpose Grand Jury in Atlanta, Georgia, without waiving any challenges or any applicable privilege and/or immunity,” the lawyers wrote in the court filing.

Any future challenges to the subpoena will be pursued in Georgia, either in Fulton County Superior Court or U.S. District Court in Atlanta.


Now, Graham still doesn't think the subpoena is valid, but he'll take it for now.  Maybe he just wants to get the deposition over with. Maybe he doesn't want to fight this all the way to the US Supreme Court. Maybe he wants to give a deposition in order to help Trump.

The point is, DA Fani Willis made him blink first. Graham may very well get the last laugh, but for now, Willis drew first blood.

We'll see how far this gets before Graham decides to burn the whole place down.

In which case, I'm sure DA Willis has options...

Just sayin'.

The State Of The Buckeye State

Ohio's state Supreme Court has, for the fourth time now, knocked down the GOP's gerrymandered redistricting maps as unconstitutional. The 2022 maps have already been decreed by Trump federal judges and the state's 2022 elections for the US House at least will take place using unconstitutional maps. However, the fight will go on to 2024.

The Ohio Supreme Court struck down the state's Republican-drawn congressional map Tuesday, ruling that districts used in the May primary violate anti-gerrymandering rules in the state Constitution.

In a 4-3 decision, the Supreme Court rejected Ohio's 15-district congressional map and ordered Ohio lawmakers to redraw a new one for the 2024 elections within 30 days. If they can't, the Ohio Redistricting Commission will have 30 days to adopt a congressional map.

The map struck down by the Ohio Supreme Court will be used in the November elections, however, because candidates were selected in the May primary using these districts.

That map guarantees Democrats two victories – Columbus' 3rd Congressional District represented by Rep. Joyce Beatty and Cleveland's 11th Congressional District represented by Rep. Shontel Brown. But Republicans are either assured wins or have a shot in the remaining 13.

"Clearly, we agree with the Ohio Supreme Court that this second congressional map is gerrymandered beyond a reasonable doubt," said Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio. "It’s our hope that the Ohio mapmakers will heed court orders and deliver congressional districts that truly serve voters."

The Ohio Supreme Court's majority ruled that the map was slightly more favorable to Democrats than one rejected earlier this year. Three Republican justices dissented, writing that both maps met Ohio's constitutional standards.

"The majority clearly has a number of Democrat congressional seats in mind, and any plan that does not result in that number will be deemed unconstitutional and therefore invalid," wrote Justices Sharon Kennedy and Pat DeWine, both Republicans. The former is running for chief justice against Democratic Justice Jennifer Brunner this November.
No end run around anti-gerrymandering language

Before approving this map, Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, argued that the Ohio Redistricting Commission didn't need to abide by voter-approved rules that prevent maps from unduly favoring one party. The court, ultimately, disagreed.

"No constitutional language suggests that the voters who approved Article XIX intended to allow the prohibitions against partisan favoritism and unduly splitting governmental units to be avoided so easily," according to the majority's opinion, which did not list a specific author.

However, Kennedy and DeWine pointed out in their dissent that "there is nothing in the Constitution that precludes map makers from seeking to maximize competitive districts, and such a goal does not cause undue favoritism."

Ohio's unconstitutional congressional map creates a toss-up district for Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Congress' longest-serving female lawmaker. In November, Kaptur faces Republican newcomer J.R. Majewski, who won former President Donald Trump's endorsement after painting his lawn with a giant Trump banner.


So there's a very good chance that Republicans will take 12 of 15 House seats, if not 13, with barely 50% of the popular vote.  The state legislature will continue to be a supermajority with about the same 50% vote, garnering 65% of state House and 75% of state Senate seats.

And at least this year, they get away with it, as I've been telling you that they would ever since this whole redistricting scheme came up.

Climate Of Emergency, Con't

With Sen. Joe Manchin killing any new climate legislation in order to serve his West Virginia coal masters and to fill his own pockets, the last shot we have at any meaningful action on global warming would be an emergency executive order. According to the Washington Post, President Biden could announce a nationwide climate emergency as soon as this week, something that will almost certainly be blocked within days by Republicans in court.

President Biden is considering declaring a national climate emergency as soon as this week as he seeks to salvage his environmental agenda in the wake of stalled talks on Capitol Hill, according to three people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private deliberations.

The potential move comes days after Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) told Democratic leaders that he does not support his party’s efforts to advance a sprawling economic package this month that includes billions of dollars to address global warming. If an emergency is invoked, it could empower the Biden administration in its efforts to reduce carbon emissions and foster cleaner energy.

Two of the individuals with knowledge of the discussions said also they expect the president to announce a slew of additional actions aimed at curbing planet-warming emissions. The exact scope and timing of any announcements remain in flux.

“The president made clear that if the Senate doesn’t act to tackle the climate crisis and strengthen our domestic clean energy industry, he will,” a White House official, who requested anonymity to describe the deliberations, said in a statement late Monday. “We are considering all options and no decision has been made.”

Jared Bernstein, a top White House economic adviser, emphasized to reporters at a news briefing earlier in the day that Biden would work “aggressively fight to attack climate change.”

“I think realistically there is a lot he can do and there is a lot he will do,” Bernstein said.

Top aides to Biden are debating the best course of action as another punishing heat wave has descended this week on the central United States, and as a similar weather pattern is breaking temperature records across Europe. Many Democrats have called on the White House in recent days to use its powers to address global warming as hopes for congressional action have faded.

“This is an important moment. There is probably nothing more important for our nation and our world than for the United States to drive a bold, energetic transition in its energy economy from fossil fuels to renewable energy,” Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) told reporters Monday.

Citing the impasse, Merkley added: “This also unchains the president from waiting for Congress to act.”

It is unclear how, exactly, Biden plans to proceed if he opts to declare a climate emergency, which Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) urged him to do just days after the president took office last year.

Some climate activists have urged the White House in recent months to deploy an emergency declaration to maximum effect, arguing that it would allow the president to halt crude oil exports, limit oil and gas drilling in federal waters, and direct agencies including the Federal Emergency Management Agency to boost renewable-energy sources.

But the president faces a tough balancing act as he seeks to calibrate his response to a warming planet with the recent economic reality of high gas prices. The policies could aid in Biden’s quest to halve U.S. emissions by the end of the decade compared to 2005 levels, though they still fall short of what Biden aimed to enact through his earlier economic plan, known as Build Back Better.

Any new executive action on climate also could face a formidable court challenge, which could affect the future of environmental regulations. Last month, the Supreme Court cut back the federal government’s powers to regulate power plants’ carbon emissions.
Several observations:
1) Joe Manchin remains a colossal asshole, and the sooner we can relegate him to powerlessness by picking up 2 or more Senate seats in November, the better.

2) Biden at this point needs to go for broke. Republicans are going to be screeching about "Biden's Green New Tyranny" no matter what measures he actually includes. He won't get any credit for trying from DO SOMETHING Democrats, either.

3) Having said that, not a single word of Biden's emergency order will ever take effect, because it'll be blocked by Trump judges up until the Roberts Court can fast track it and dispose of it next June, and that will be the end of any meaningful climate change measures by the US.

4) The rest of the world is not going to tolerate US inaction on fighting climate for much longer.

We'll see where this goes, but I have little reason to believe that any Biden executive action on climate will survive the courts in 2022.

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